Coaching strengths in a client can sometimes be a difficult task. Clients may be more in touch with their weaknesses than strengths. Or, they may feel uncomfortable highlighting their strengths. This self-evaluation can help your client get down on paper what they intuitively know about their strengths. Have your client do the exercise quickly, and try not to be especially neat or over-analyze what they write: you can help them evaluate their jottings later.
Coaching Strengths Tip
This exercise is most useful for those who’ve already done some life purpose discovery work.
Step 1: Brain Dump
List your strengths. What are your natural talents and abilities? What activities come easily to you? What talents in you do people consistently affirm? They can be an athletic abilities, an aptitude for a certain kind of task, or something experience has shown you are really good at. Just jot down whatever comes to mind.
Coaching Strengths Tip
This exercise is mainly about getting something down on paper as a starting point. Have the client send their jottings to you before the next coaching session so you can review it. Be alert for clients whose lack of confidence or self-awareness shows up in a scantly list. You’ll need to do some extra work to draw them out. One tool for drawing out those reluctant to share strengths is to go back to childhood:
“What were you good at when you were a kid?”
“What kind of contests or awards have you won? What strength is behind that?”
“Where did you do well in school? Socially? In athletics? Academics?”
Step 2: Cull it Down
Now, have your client step back and look over what they wrote. Eliminate anything that is a learned skill: something that they aren’t naturally good at but can do if they have to. Feel free to combine similar items or cross out anything that on second though they don’t feel is a strength—give themselves the benefit of the doubt and leave it on the list if they aren’t sure.
Step 3: Top Five
Put a star next to the ones they think are their top five best strengths.
A pioneer in Christian leadership coaching, Tony Stoltzfus has trained thousands of coaches, founded several leadership- and coaching schools and created a wide range of leadership resources used around the world.